18 April 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

In Photo: Products are displayed under Design Commune: Patterns and Palettes directed by Creative Director Tony Gonzales during the 66th edition of Manila FAME.
THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), is set to showcase high-quality, design-driven, and Philippine-made home décor and houseware products at the 67th edition of the Manila FAME happening from April 19 to 21 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Highlighting the country’s creative enterprises, Manila FAME continues to project the Philippines as a reliable source of premier and world-class home furnishings through the highlights of the international trade show, which include Design Commune: Patterns and Palettes, Artisans Village, Gender Responsive Actions for the Transformation of Women (Great Women) Project 2, Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters Plus (Ripples Plus) and Manila Wear.

“Manila FAME has been a platform where the Philippines showcases our country’s best, from acclaimed artisans to budding young designers. This is among the many platforms provided for local and international buyers to experience Filipino designs and source their next home décor and furnishings in Manila. With our strengthened programs of enhancing the capacity of Filipino enterprises, the Philippines is ready to attract more foreign buyers and assist more Filipino exporters in penetrating the lucrative international market,” DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary and CITEM Officer-in-Charge Nora K. Terrado said.

Continuing the success of its maiden appearance during the 66th edition, Design Commune: Patterns and Palletes will be returMning to the 67th edition to present a curated display of Philippine aesthetics and materials proudly produced by 70 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who worked with designers Tes Pasola, Detleft Klatt, Reine Shih, and Josef Crisanto under the thematic guidance of world-renowned designer Tony Gonzales.

Design Commune is framed in five unique themes inspired by design trends of 2018: Ethnic Nomad Spring and Autumn, Neutral Metals, Neutral Blues and Tints of Green.

Meanwhile, Artisans Village will showcase regional crafts from featured Philippine destinations, such as Zamboanga City, South Cotabato, and Ifugao.

Manila FAME also supports the country’s initiative of assisting women entrepreneurs through the showcase of the GREAT Women Project 2. As part of the highlights of this edition, DTI-Design Center of the Philippines provided product development and management mentoring to 30 women-led enterprises under the GREAT Women Project 2 initiative. Products under this category range from handwoven bags to handcrafted home décors.

Sixteen of the leading enrollees of the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau’s Ripples Plus will also join the trade show highlighting artisanal accent pieces and wearable products. Ripples Plus is a signature program of the DTI that aims to increase the number of internationally competitive local product and services through capacity building and trainings.

“True to DTI’s mandate of assisting Filipino enterprises, the heart of our initiatives is the goal of increasing the number of MSMEs in the Philippines exporting their products to key markets and buyers. We are not just supporting them through platform provision in accessing markets; we are also assisting them in product development, capacity building, marketing and enterprise development as a whole,” Terrado said.

Manila FAME also caters to the fast-growing fashion industry through Manila WEAR. The trade show will host a collective of the country’s fashion designers with their innovative and trendy designs. Manila WEAR aims to advance the country’s fashion industry by advocating ingenious designs that combine artisanal crafts with contemporary and trendy sensibilities.

In its effort to encourage and inspire Philippine exporters and designers to continue to provide excellent and competitive product offerings and elevate the Philippine brand to the world market through innovation, Manila FAME serves host to the awarding of best products exhibited at the said trade show through Katha Awards.

“Above all these highlights, we aim to recognize outstanding products and designers who continue to innovate and redefine the Philippine design imprint,” Terrado said.

18 April 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

In Photo: Abac Philippines headed by ChairmanTomas Alcantara (center, left) discusses the group’s work plan with Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (center, right) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo (second from left). They are joined by (from left) Naisy Abastillas of the DTI’s Bureau of International Trade Relations; Benedict Uy of the DTI’s Foreign Trade Service Corps; and Bill Luz and Renato Salud of Abac Philippines.
THE APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Philippines has added digital innovation and infrastructure to its priority areas. Along with its thrusts on micro, small and medium enterprises, non-tariff barriers and services, ABAC Philippines seeks to tackle the impact of digital technologies on education and future jobs and take advantage of regional opportunities that may complement the national government’s ambitious infrastructure push.

The broadened scope of work was announced following the conclusion of the first ABAC meeting for 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand in February, where these issues emerged as highly important for the Philippines.

Specifically, ABAC Philippines is organizing a public-private task force, which will lead in formulating the strategic road map for digital innovation. The envisioned road map will be linked to government policies, educational system and training programs. This effort is critical given that 48 percent of the activities of Filipino employees—equating to 18.2 million jobs —could be automated, based on a paper by international consulting firm McKinsey. Sectors most affected include agriculture, retail trade and manufacturing.

ABAC Philippines Chairman Tomas Alcantara said, “Digital innovation will bring us to the future. However, many of the jobs we have today will disappear 20 years from now. What are the skills and the competencies that a Filipino worker must have to ‘survive’ in the future? What kind of educational system will we need to prepare our children? These are critical questions that must be answered to ensure that the Philippines will not be left behind.”

The council also aims to tap into international Islamic funds, which are currently estimated at $70.8 billion. It will facilitate the establishment of bilateral arrangements of the Philippines with economies like Malaysia to secure successful financing of infrastructure projects.

“Adequate financing is the lifeblood of infrastructure development in the region. I see the potential of Islamic investments in unlocking infrastructure-development hurdles, especially in Mindanao,” ABAC member Joanne de Asis said.

Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez expressed his continued support for the work of ABAC Philippines and shared valuable inputs on digital innovation.

“We are excited for the outcomes of ABAC Philippines’s initiatives. As the government consistently pushes for innovation, DTI is committed to assisting the council to ensure that their projects are aligned with our efforts and priorities,” Lopez said.

The DTI has assigned counterparts to each of the council’s work program. The agency will also assist in the implementation of ABAC Philippines’s local projects.

As the voice of Philippine business in the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference, the council will continue to represent the private sector in the second ABAC meeting to be held in Tokyo, Japan, this April.


ABAC was created by APEC Leaders in 1995 to be the primary voice of business in APEC. Each economy has three members who are appointed by the respective Leaders. They meet four times a year in preparation for the presentation of their recommendations to the Leaders in a dialogue that is a key event in the annual Leaders Meeting.

The Makati Business Club is the secretariat of ABAC Philippines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs hosts the APEC National Secretariat under the supervision of the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations.

By Raison D. Aborinto | Halal Section | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

18 April 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board, composed of nine government agencies led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), will hold its first-ever Philippine National Halal Conference on May 2 and 3 at the Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City.

With the theme “Towards Making the Philippines a Respectable Player in the Global Halal Ecosystem,” the conference will feature the unveiling of the comprehensive Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Strategic Road Map, a result of a series of consultations and extensive work collaborations among all major stakeholders concluded last year.

The strategic road map includes the launch of the approved Philippine National Halal Certification Scheme and the Accreditation Guidelines, two of the most important components of  halal in the quest to be recognized as a major player in the global halal ecosystem.

During the sixth Halal Export Board meeting held on March 21, the Board emphasized the need for the Philippine standard-setting bodies, such as the DTI, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Health, to develop the necessary standards for Philippine halal to be recognized in the global halal ecosystem.

The conference will also gather some of the major halal global players to share their experiences and best practices in establishing a respectable and sustainable Halal ecosystem in their respective countries. This will be done through holding of lecture sessions with resource speakers from the well-known experts in the Halal international community.

Also happening during the conference is the Assembly of the Philippine Muslim Religious Scholars, where information sessions and lectures on development of the halal industry with respect to the Sharia aspect in particular will be conducted. The assembly would also aim to identify from among these Muslim scholars one resource person who will perform the religious components necessary to strengthen the Philippines integrity for halal.

As the Philippines opens its door for the global halal market, it also widens its horizon as it pursues several cooperation instruments for Halal from the global halal community.

In April last year, the Philippines, represented by Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, and Brunei Darussalam, represented by Pehin Dato Dr. Mohammad Yasmin Umar, the minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the Halal Industry and Halal Export Development and Promotion.

The Philippines also signed a membership with the International Halal Accreditation Forum in December 2017. Ihaf is an independent, non-government network of accreditation entities that are mandated to enforce halal standards in their countries and territories. The Philippine affiliation to Ihaf is expected to pave the way for the entry and acceptance of Philippine halal-certified products to the member markets of the organization.

A similar instrument will also be signed between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates Standardization and Metrology Authority on mutual recognition for halal accreditation. The MOU was already agreed upon by the two parties in February, however, the actual signing of the agreement would take place during the conference as one separate side event.

The conference will be participated in by Philippine MSMEs with halal-certified products and services, including travel and tourism services sector; representative from government agencies; Philippine halal certification bodies; academe; Muslim and interested non-Muslim consumers; Muslim religious groups; concerned civil society groups; international major halal players; and other stakeholders.

18 April 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

AS part of its effort to help promote and scale up Philippine start-ups, the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) facilitates the country’s first-time participation in the Startup Genome project, which released the 2018 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER).

Recently released at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul, GSER 2018 features strategic start-up, investment and policy insights from over 10,000 founders in 45 cities, including Manila. Two more major Philippine cities—Cebu and Davao—will be covered in future reports.

“We are keen on supporting the growing start-up ecosystem in the Philippines as we implement programs that will create high-growth and high-impact start-ups that would contribute to sustainable economic growth and generate more employment opportunities,” DTI Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado said.

Startup Genome’s mission is to empower cities all over the world to capture their fair share of the new economy by accelerating the economic growth of start-up ecosystems through benchmarking, networking  and exposure. Fueled by primary research with over 10,000 start-ups annually—the Voice of the Entrepreneur—Startup Genome supports local ecosystem leaders with building consensus for action on key challenges.

Produced in partnership between Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), this year’s GSER signals a strong commitment to advancing a greater understanding of start-up ecosystems and the global network of capital and connections that drive them.

“We’ve now entered the third wave of innovation—where our global start-up community is disrupting industries by combining technology with deep industry expertise. This is creating a potentially game-changing opportunity for smaller, less mature start-up ecosystems that can now build out competitive advantage at a global level by focusing on their DNA and legacy strengths,” Startup Genome CEO and Cofounder JF Gauthier said.

A fitting occasion for the launch of this collaborative report, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress gathered thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policy-makers and other start-up champions from more than 170 countries to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world.

“Research in the field is vital to shaping the interventions necessary to empower entrepreneurs around the world,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the GEN. “As thousands of start-up champions gather this week to explore innovative approaches, efforts such as the Global Startup Ecosystem Report help us become better informed about what is needed.”

Incorporating data from Crunchbase and Orb Intelligence, as well as the voices of over 10,000 founders from 24 countries worldwide and counting—including some of Manila’s start-ups like Serve Happy Jobs and Qwikwire Billing Systems—GSER 2018 presents an incisive look at over 60 ecosystems. Through an analysis of start-up output and legacy traits, it identifies the industries where each ecosystem has the most potential to build the vibrant economy for which it is uniquely positioned.

This year GSER takes a close look at key subsectors, such as advanced  manufacturing and robotics, agriculture  technology, artificial intelligence (AI), big data and analytics, life sciences and cybersecurity, as well as new technologies in education, health, advertising  and finance. The subsectors in focus point toward imminent entrepreneurial revolutions.

Thanks to SpaceX, we may already have a car in space—but will we have greater diversity and value distribution on the ground and in our start-up ecosystems? These are among key qualitative issues that GSER 2018 also looks at.

In the Manila ecosystem in particular, GSER provides a detailed look at the following subsectors: fintech, enterprise solutions  and AI/machine learning.

To download the full report, visit

By Kristina Noelle S. Andaya | Knowledge Processing Division | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

11 April 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

In Photo: DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada projects Philippine exports to reach $122 billion by 2022.
THE Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) is confident that the country’s exports will reach at least $122 billion by 2022, through the efforts of the electronics, processed food and beverages, and services sectors, particularly the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector.

“There are moves to upscale our IT-BPM sector. There are challenges for the Philippines’s export growth. It is more risky. There are policy threats in major markets. There are constraints in what we’re doing in the negotiations in free-trade agreements, and there are technological breakdowns that we have to look at. The IT-BPM sector is not shielded from this, and we have to find ways to have more value-added IT-BPM that will make the services sector more relevant and productive for our economy,” DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada said.

The DTI-EMB is working on the country’s exports to balance the trade and be able to address the growing trade deficit with the second-largest economy in the world. This November, the Philippines will participate at the China International Import Expo (CIIE), China’s biggest import exposition, that would give the Philippines the opportunity to sell to the consumer market in China.

The DTI-EMB pushes for wearables, furniture and furnishings, and gifts, décor and houseware as well as agricultural products, such as bananas, mangoes, papayas and pineapples.

“Because of the newfound wealth in China, a lot of consumers really want to try something that they would like to import from abroad. The CIIE will be the best platform for us to start doing that,” Perlada said.

He noted the DTI is strengthening the efforts of the country’s e-commerce sector to facilitate its participation in China’s huge e-commerce market.

“We have to address our suppliability. We have capacities for manufactured exports like electronics but, when it comes to fresh and processed foods, our difficulty is to have the quantity the market can absorb from us,” Perlada added.

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